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Monday, June 27, 2011

36 Days

After over 12 months, countless appointments, numerous signatures, stamps, and envelopes sent, I finally have a placement. Everything is set in motion for this to actually happen. My dream is actually coming true. The plan I had set forth many years ago has finally come to fruition. Now what? How am I supposed to prepare for "an experience of a lifetime"? Impossible!

Since I received my placement, there have been many reactions from friends, family, classmates, and my boss. Everything from "why the heck would you want to go there?"; "haven't you seen 'The Last King of Scotland'?"; "where is Uganda?"; "why don't you just get a job with USAID or WHO?"; etc.

My parents have been somewhere between supportive and scared. Initially they questioned my decision, numerous times. Throughout the application process there was always mention of a "back up plan" just in case this didn't work out. I never really understood why they held onto this idea of the plan not working out, but I brushed it aside, as I do often in regards to their misunderstanding of my career drive. When I was approved medically, the "back up plan" was mentioned again, however this time I had a suitable response. "I'm cleared medically, they shouldn't be rejecting me now!" This prompted still more inquiries as to a "back up plan" which I indulged, talking of a two month trip to India which would fulfill my educational requirements to get my MPH.

*On a completely related side note: I am serving in the Peace Corps as a community health volunteer in Uganda. I will be working on an HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Nutrition project (why I felt I needed to capitalize all three components, I may never know). This 27 month service is to fulfill my International Field Experience and Special Project requirements which will complete my coursework for my Master's of Public Health degree at the University of South Florida, College of Public Health*

Now, where was I? Oh, yes, the "back up plan". Well, since I've been placed new inquiries were formulated. "How much do you get paid?"; "Is this really worth it?"; "You're taking a huge financial loss, aren't you?"; etc.

Somehow, all this never persuaded me to quit. Eventually, my parents became accepting and now very supportive of the idea. With the help of the Peace Corps texts and personal stories from return volunteers, my parents are happy and proud that I will soon join the ranks of the PCV! They were so happy, they spread the word across the Gujurati community in Orlando. While there were many questions and concerns, having my parents back me up is the best feeling. I feel that I am finally understood and making them proud.

Now, all I have to do is pack.



  1. w00t! I am going to need an address to ship stuff to!

    - Merissa

  2. I am excited for you as well! I can't wait to read more about your experiences!